Queen's dream reign
Dijo Jose Antony's Malayalam film filled with new faces is having a great run at the theatres
A lone girl student among a boys-only engineering college may not be freshest of the ideas, but trust Dijo Jose Antony, a debutant director, to give it a relevant twist, that of women empowerment.
Two weeks after Queen hit the screens, Dijo says he was adamant not to let Queen end up as just a campus entertainer. "I understand that people expected an out-and-out campus comedy, but the real surprise was the court-room drama during the second half. We couldn't have done this without driving home the message of women empowerment. But, we had to keep it under wraps because we believed the garb of a campus flick would ensure a great initial," he adds.
The film, which came out without a single poster face or big name attached to it, continues its magical run all over Kerala. This was unexpected even for the makers. "Honestly, we never expected this response. I must have watched it like 50 times, so my judgement was flawed. But, somewhere, I was confident that I had made a good film. But, this is totally unexpected. I believe the welcome Queen got will inspire many youngsters, with no industry backing, to venture into cinema," he says.
Queen was announced long ago, much before a similar-themed Chunkzz hit the screens. But, Dijo says he never saw Chunkzz as an obstacle. "Many within the team were worried whether the ideas would clash, but I was not. I was happy because the response Chunkzz got would help us in a way," he says.
It was the same for the courtroom scene in the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Pink too, says Dijo. But, the young director says he never really worried about the comparisons. "In fact, what worried me the most was getting the film to the screen. Comparisons with other films wasn't an issue at that point of time," says Dijo.
Queen also brought many new faces to the limelight, most of whom were selected through auditions. "We held several rounds of auditions. We didn't want familiar faces. They all play college students and should look like that," says Dijo. Dhruv and Saniya Iyappan, who made their debut in Queen, are still basking in the adulation.
Dijo agrees that making a film like Queen itself was a great risk. "It is like stepping into an industry with little resources. We had no mentors or godfathers. It was a risky game. It's a relief that Queen has been received well," says Dijo, who doesn't hide his glee.
So, what's next? "My mind is still with Queen. Let's see where it leads to," he winds up.